The Third Master (Erh Tung Sheng, aka Derek Yee, in the role that launched his career) is considered to be the greatest sword master of the day. His displays of skill and strength bring ... See full summary »
LIFE GAMBLE is the tale of a simple blacksmith (Kuo Chue) with extraordinary martial arts skills who is entangled in a life and death struggle between swordsmen, thieves, con artists, a ... See full summary »
Three North Shaolin teachers (Lu Feng, Chang Sheng, and Sun Chien) are called on by the Manchus to teach their soldiers and are urged to challenge the current South Shaolin teachers. They ... See full summary »
International favorite, David Chiang, stars as the great Chih Shim, the monk who saved the Southern Shaolin Temple. Joining him is Lo Lieh, the Shaws' first international star who returns ... See full summary »
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
Lei Li lost his right-arm in a sword duel with the master of a martial arts school, long ago. Now, he is able to defend himself well with just his left arm, and kung fu techniques. That he ... See full summary »
Continues the story of the sentimental swordsman three years after the events in the last film. This time the story is more melancholy and thoughtful which is a surprise for a Yuen Chor directed film. The swordsman, played by Ti Lung, is a depressed alcoholic who finds himself pulled back into the intrigues of the martial world against his will.
The "martial world" is an odd genre, sort of like a western but with almost no interaction with regular society. Imagine a Hollywood western where nearly everyone is a crack shot and spending all their time dueling each other. Even samurai dramas will spend some time with other concerns but martial world dramas are almost non-stop fighters sparring with each other or preparing to fight each other. And there are frequently dozens of characters to keep track of. Most of these films are based on published novels so the original audience had a head start. Once you are prepared for this kind of film then it'll be easier to enjoy.
This film revolves around the turmoil of the sentimental swordsman with about six other main characters to follow which is less than the usual martial world film. There's some good melodrama as a number of the characters are actually concerned about something emotional other than who is the best martial artist. There is an amount of Chinese philosophy quoted which is interesting to hear.
The photography is excellent as well as the set design which is good since 95% of the film is on sets. The music sounds a lot like Akira Ikufube (Gojira, Zatoichi) but since there is a music credit I guess it wasn't lifted. The fight scenes are very theatrical but enjoyable.
Recommended for the Shaw fan.
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